A Chat with Cheekwood Docents

The Cheekwood Docent Program

The docent program at Cheekwood offers behind-the-scenes information and training on Cheekwood’s 55 acres of gardens, historical mansion, and art exhibitions. We offer the opportunity for our volunteers to train as a Garden Docent, House and History Docent, and Exhibition Docent. As important members of our team, docents act as volunteer teachers and tour guides while sharing their passion for Cheekwood’s permanent and temporary exhibitions, gardens, and historical residence with visitors of all ages.

We recently sat down with two of our docents, Gary Kaiser and Robin Aguilar, to ask them some questions about their experience as a docent, and what they love most.

A Conversation with Cheekwood Docents

A Chat with Gary Kaiser

When did you begin volunteering at Cheekwood?
I started volunteering at Cheekwood after I retired in the Fall of 2012.  Several years earlier I brought my three year old grandson here to see some huge sculptured insects.  I fell in love with the beauty and serenity of the place.  We continued to return and the serenity I felt on the first visit continued throughout the years, which subsequently led to me seeking a docent position when I retired.Mansion

What is your favorite memory as a Cheekwood Docent?
My favorite memory is actually the continued serenity and peace I feel at Cheekwood and the opportunity to share that feeling with guests.  The Cheek family has an admirable history so it is easy to be enthusiastic when sharing that also.  I have always loved investigating and sharing/teaching about hidden historical facts and events.

Why did you become a Cheekwood docent?
The staff and other docents are all pleasant to work with and dedicated to the missions of Cheekwood that is to stimulate minds and nurture the spirit, I place emphasis on the later.

A Chat with Robin Aguilar

When did you begin volunteering at Cheekwood?
April 2018

What is your favorite memory as a Cheekwood Docent? 
One evening during Holiday Lights, a little girl – about 6 years old – came into the mansion with her family. She had walked along the path lined with all the beautiful lights, watched the reindeer, talked to Santa, and checked out the 1930’s Christmas toy display. Color GardenYou could tell that she was having a wonderful time. But then she walked into the mansion’s drawing room with its beautiful holiday decorations and music playing in the background. Suddenly she stopped and her grandmother asked her if she recognized the song that was playing. She said “Of course – it’s “Do you want to build a snowman?” from “Frozen.” The expression on her face reflected pure joy and she said to her grandmother, “Let’s dance”! … and so they did. That’s the magic of the mansion.

What experience, background, circumstance, etc. led you to being a Cheekwood docent?
During the course of our careers, my family and I lived in a number of different places around the country. Every time we moved, we explored our new hometown to learn about it by visiting museums, parks, and historic sites. The same was true when we moved to our new home in Tennessee and Cheekwood was on the list. We loved the beauty of the estate, and after making  numerous visits with friends and family to see the spring flowers, holiday lights, etc., we decided to become members. I have always been interested in historic homes and was once a docent at a historic house in Illinois. When I saw an announcement about docent training opportunities in the Member Newsletter, I decided to check it out.

 

Become a Docent!

Are you an avid gardener, an admirer of the arts, or intrigued by Nashville’s rich history? Do you enjoy sharing your interests and knowledge with your community? If so, you may be interested in Cheekwood’s Docent Program!

Join the docent program and get behind-the-scenes information and training on Cheekwood’s 55 acres of gardens, historical mansion, and art exhibitions from Cheekwood staff. Cheekwood offers the opportunity to train as a Garden Docent, House and History Docent, and Exhibition Docent. As key members of our team, docents act as volunteer teachers and tour guides while sharing their passion for Cheekwood’s permanent and temporary exhibitions, gardens, and historical residence with visitors of all ages.

For Docent Program inquiries for our February training contact: docents@cheekwood.org 

Learn more about the docent and volunteer program at Cheekwood: https://cheekwood.org/support/volunteer/


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